Can’t sleep? Feeling blue? Seven things women must avoid doing at 2 a.m!


And now for a bit of wise humour, courtesy of the always creative Christine Miserandino at one of my favourite websites, But You Don’t Look Sick?  

“We all have been there. It is 2 a.m, you can’t sleep, you have a lot on your mind – and let’s face facts, you are depressed. After doing all of the wrong things to combat depression, I thought I would pass on some of my knowledge to you. Hopefully you can find better things to do with your time at 2 a.m. than I did. Why only seven things? I fell asleep, and I was too depressed to think of 10…  

1. Whatever you do, stay away from Google. Normally I am a HUGE Google lover, but at 2 a.m. when things are looking bleak, Google has a funny way of turning on you. I call this “Depression Googling”. It seems like a smart idea in the moment to start searching for all the wacky symptoms of your illness, or the side effects of your medications, but to read all this technical data when you are on little sleep just leads to trouble. It is overwhelming and depressing and no matter how much medical information and experience you have, you are not a doctor. Google also tends to get addictive. One search leads to another and three hours later, you still don’t have answers, just a load of websites that tend to confuse and depress you even more.

2. Now is NOT the time to Stroll Down Memory Lane. It is fun to look at pictures or talk to old friends, but not when you are down in the dumps. When you are sad, comparing yourself to your skinny/ pretty/ prom/ healthy pictures is not productive. You are not that person and you will never be that person again, You can’t –  it is in the past. We have a funny way of picking ourselves apart when we want to. We can be our own worst enemies. We notice every flaw, every unfulfilled desire and we focus on it. When looking at old pictures or talking to old friends, we reminisce about the way things were, or how things could have been, and rarely do we focus on the now and how great some things currently are.

3. Do not watch sad movies. It might seem like a good idea to watch movies to distract yourself when you are sad or can’t sleep, but there are some movies that should come with warning labels. If you think the movie might be a tear jerker, don’t watch it. Practise self control. The news isn’t even safe anymore. Turn your TV channel to a comedy station or the Disney cartoon network – anything that will make you laugh, but not make you think.

4. Now is NOT the time for A Major House Re-Organization. I know you are awake, and you think that you might as well make good productive use of your time, but you will just end up tired, ache-y and with a half-accomplished project. You do not need more reasons to be depressed. Looking at the cabinets in your kitchen and deciding to re-organize your Tupperware is not the way to cheer up. You will only be mad at how the cabinets got so messy in the first place, or you will start the project and be too tired to finish. Waking up to a messy kitchen with random lids of Tupperware all over the place will only make you feel worse. Trust me, I am writing this article with a half-erected Christmas tree in front of me, and it is sad.

5. Eating that whole bowl of Fudge Brownie Mix, although yummy, will just give you a tummy ache. Eating a whole bowl of anything is probably not a good idea. You will either get an upset stomach, or get a sugar rush that will just keep you awake even longer. An easy rule of thumb is do not bake, cook, or binge. You do not want to wake up in the morning and feel more upset about what you ate, than about whatever it was that was upsetting you. If you want to bake, eat one piece of whatever it is and put the rest away.

6. Do not drink away your troubles. You had problems before one glass of wine or a beer, and you will have problems after them. Drinking will just make your issues seem bigger, fuzzier and just plain messy. Drinking makes everything seem sad. Drinking by yourself at 2 a.m. is just pathetic. Have a drink to toast and celebrate good occasions, not to drown your sorrows.

7. Do not change your blog, facebook, or myspace page to reflect your mood. Do not take the time to change your background to black or your song list to Alanis Morissette just yet. Wait a few days and make sure that dark mood is really what you want to express. Maybe after a few days and a good night’s sleep, you will not be feeling so Goth. Before you spread your dark mood to the world, wait a few days. You will be happy you don’t have to just figure out how to undo everything you did.”

Christine Miserandino, © 2009 

14 thoughts on “Can’t sleep? Feeling blue? Seven things women must avoid doing at 2 a.m!

  1. After spending the past few hours sad and reflecting on the many things in the past I feel I’ve missed out on, I googled “movies to watch when you can’t sleep” and the first thing to pop up was this article.

    I really appreciated and enjoyed it. It gave me the right boost to look forward to the many happy times ahead 🙂


    1. Isn’t it funny how reflecting on the past can be turned around in a remarkably short time like this? Glad this helped, Sara!


  2. This is only sometimes for me, like one day lets say i go to bed between 9-10:00 and then i wake up at like 3 in the morning. Feeling not tired enough to go to bed, not even sleep pills work. I strongly dislike those days.


  3. Found this article on today — liked it, bookmarked it, will be back again to check out some more later. Good advice on middle-of-the-night stewing!


  4. I think I’ll take this list to bed with me tonight. Very useful – and entertaining – truths here.

    Thanks for sharing this list with us.


  5. Since my heart attack, I have done all the right things, but it still didn’t
    keep me from having an anxiety attack about a year later. I still have
    anxious moments so I know that I will be on anti-anxiety medication
    for a while longer.

    But, sad to say, I am glad to know that I am not in the boat alone.
    I know that staying connected is good for me, and I also know that
    there are some people with whom I shouldn’t be friends b/c they
    drag me down. I wish that I had known all this years ago.


  6. Wondering about picking your brain for your best tips to be open to intuition inspirations and what to do with them at times when more sleep is the goal?

    I am also wondering about getting a tape recorder by my bed or a permanent notepad that I am forbidden to move. Personally, I love getting out and walking around the inner-city lake nearby and trust in divine protection I guess from the lions, tigers and bears.

    Best wishes to all of you awake between 2am-5am with me.


    1. Hi Maria – are you familiar with the author Sondra Kornblatt in Seattle?

      She writes about something she calls “restful insomnia” which she defines as a new way to look at the night, how to create deep rest in order to mimic the benefits of sleep. When you’re thinking, “I have to sleep,” you are letting your conscious mind take over with a bunch of errands and to-do lists. Restful insomnia is about quieting your conscious mind and allowing the unconscious mind to be in charge.”

      Here’s an article about Sondra’s work from Seattle Magazine:

      Good luck with those inspirations.


  7. Love the post. Was awake myself last night @ 4:30…almost enough time to get up, but enough to try not to.

    My favorite past-time when trying to sleep is to invent products. I have a few that I’d like to see if they can be made. It gives my head something future-oriented to fasten onto, and it’s a puzzle, really. Eventually, I get tired or I have to draw it on paper. If I revisit an old idea, it generally makes me sleepy and gives me a project for tomorrow – if it seems that important by then. All the best!


    1. Hi Mary – 4:30 is wake-up time for me! I guess the sleepytime solution for you is to keep thinking of those OLD ideas when you awaken, no exciting new ones that will get your brain going all over again!


  8. It is ironic that I found you by googling 🙂 My new awake time is now 3:00 am but that will probably change to 2:00 soon enough.

    I seem to be sleeping less and less until I simply fall asleep sometime during the day. That sleep is more like a coma. I am a heart attack survivor and my bp and blood work is all good but I’m doing the exact things you talk about – like looking at my younger self and talking with old friends about the way we were.

    We have been weathered in since Christmas Eve and moving from room to room, computer to computer, tv to movies, etc. has been our lifestyle. Hopefully when the sun comes out we’ll be more active.

    I loved this post so much. Thanks for letting me know there are others out there.


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